UPDATE: August 12, 2021: From 15 companies that delivered a 10-minute product pitch in Cincinnati, Kroger selected the following as winners of its Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator: Maazah, Nona Lim, Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale, Simply Southern Sides and Soupergirl.
Kroger said the companies’ products would be on store shelves by the first quarter of 2022.
“Just last year Kroger invested $ 4.1 billion in various suppliers – up 21% year over year – and we aim to increase that number to $ 10 billion by 2030,” said Stuart Aitken, chief merchant and Kroger’s marketing officer, in a statement. “This year’s inaugural cohort is a conscious and powerful step towards achieving this bold goal.”
UPDATE: June 24, 2021: Kroger has received more than 1,000 applications to participate in its Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, said Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Kroger, on a recent conference call.
- Kroger plans to hold a competition to increase the number of local and regional growers and producers sourcing fresh produce from a number of categories, the grocery chain announced in a press release.
- Fifteen companies selected to participate in the Krogers Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, due to take place in August in the grocer’s hometown of Cincinnati, will give a jury the chance to stock their Kroger products. Five winners will receive a placement on Kroger’s shelves as well as the ongoing business development of the company and its affiliates. The closing date for the competition is December 31.
- Kroger’s recent efforts to connect with new suppliers coincide with the retailer’s ongoing initiative to expand the number of different companies he works with to source goods for his stores.
Kroger’s goal is to identify and support new suppliers for departments such as products, delicatessen, bakery, meat, seafood, dairy products, cheese specialties and flowers, according to the press release.
However, the newly announced program goes beyond giving attendees access to Kroger’s shelves. In addition to selling the five winners’ products, the grocer plans to coach them and connect them with grocer Gourmet Foods International, who sponsors the competition.
The company’s Category Management and Fresh Director team will work with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing, which connects suppliers and retailers, to select applicants for the pitch event. The ECRM unit RangeMe, an online platform that helps retailers identify new products, will also play a role, said Kroger.
As part of his ten-part plan announced in October to promote diversity, equity and inclusion across the company, Kroger outlined several steps to increase supplier diversity, such as z and accelerators. Previously, Kroger launched an online portal in 2017 to enable suppliers to present products directly to the company’s buyers.
Other retailers are also running programs to expand the breadth and variety of their offerings and the suppliers they source from. Walmart plans to host virtual pitch meetings so entrepreneurs can compete for retail space, while ECRM and RangeMe partnered with Meijer earlier this month to host a virtual summit for various suppliers.
For Kroger’s Accelerator, the company divides the program into categories that reflect its five geographic regions. Applicants are also grouped according to criteria such as location, size and local relevance of their offers.
The grocer intends to provide the five winners with business development coaching through its merchandising and sales staff. They will also be advised by Brian Kelley, a former manager of Keurig Green Mountain and Coca-Cola Refreshments who is CEO of PearlRock Partners, a joint venture between Kroger’s 84.51 ° data analytics unit and private family investment firm Fremont Macanta.